Brigham Young University’s Men’s Chorus, which is considered the largest collegiate men’s choir in the U.S., is accustomed to recording and performing. In fact, they were part of the BYU Men’s Choir that provided the music for the Saturday afternoon session of the April 2013 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church).

The Men’s Chorus also “create music videos” and “perform acts of service” and perform throughout the U.S. Now they have created an album as a “gift to all who share in the love of missionary work.” Over 60 percent of the 180 singers have served full-time missions for the Church of Jesus Christ and a large number of the other 40 percent are currently waiting to receive their mission assignments.

“‘If any group in the whole world should make a missionary CD, it’s the BYU Men’s Chorus,’” said Rosalind Hall, who has been the director of the chorus for twelve years. “‘You feel that tremendous power coming from them when they sing and the enormous collective goodness that they emanate. There’s nothing in the world that could be a stronger power for good than that.’”

BYU Men's Chorus MormonThe album, which is a collection of beloved missionary hymns such as “Called to Serve,” “Onward Christian Soldiers,” and “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” was created for current and prospective missionaries, but those behind the album hope that the collection will be enjoyed by anyone who would like to download the music. It is available at setapartalbum.com.

Ten new arrangements of hymns created especially for the Men’s Chorus are part of this new CD. Arrangers, including Matthew D. Nielsen, David Zabriskie, and Lane Johnson, have forfeited their licensing rights to their arrangements in order to make the CD free of charge.

Six months ago, President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ, Thomas S. Monson, announced the lowering of the age requirement for missionaries:

“I am pleased to announce that effective immediately all worthy and able young men who have graduated from high school or its equivalent, regardless of where they live, will have the option of being recommended for missionary service beginning at the age of 18, instead of age 19. . . . We have also given consideration to the age at which a young woman might serve. Today I am pleased to announce that able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of age 21.”1

The response from these young people has been astounding. President Monson said in the General Conference in April 2013 that 65,634 full-time missionaries are serving, over 20,000 more have received their calls, and 6,000 more have begun the interview process. Because of the substantial increase in missionaries, the Church has had to create 58 new missions.

“‘Ever since President Monson made that announcement at General Conference, there’s been a tremendous upsurge in the level of excitement about the missionary program’ Hall said. ‘Every time the Men’s Chorus sings, the moment they open their mouths, they are doing missionary work.’”

“Stephen Jones, Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, is very pleased with the choir’s work. ‘Testimony is felt in every phrase of this very impressive offering that honors all those who have served missions, and will inspire all who desire to share the gospel.’”

Even since its early years, the Church of Jesus Christ has called missionaries to preach the gospel. Joseph Smith received a revelation in 1831 from the Lord Jesus Christ commanding the members of the Church to “Go ye into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature, acting in the authority which I have given you, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:8).

Missionaries consider themselves representatives of Jesus Christ in proclaiming His message. They serve on a voluntary basis, and are assigned areas to labor by the leadership of the Church. Generally they, or their families, financially support them. They are not paid by the Church to serve. Young men serve for two years and young women serve for eighteen months. Senior couples may also serve if they have no dependents at home. They may serve for six months, one year, eighteen months, or two years. Couples are frequently called to preside over missions as well. A mission president and his wife typically serve for three years.

All missionaries are deemed worthy to serve through interviews by their ward (congregation) bishop and stake (diocese) president.

Notes:

1. Welcome to Conference

Reference:

BYU Men’s Chorus to Release Free Missionary Album

This article was written by Paula Hicken, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Paula Hicken MormonPaula Hicken was an editor with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship from 2000 to 2013. She earned her BA degree in English from Brigham Young University. She edited Insights, the Maxwell Institute newsletter, and was the production editor for Faith, Philosophy, Scripture, Hebrew Law in Biblical Times (2nd ed.), Third Nephi: An Incomparable Scripture, and was one of the copy editors for Analysis of the Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon. She also helped manage the Maxwell Institute intellectual property and oversaw rights and permissions. She has published in the Ensign, the Liahona, the LDS Church News, and the FARMS Review.

Additional Resource:

BYU Men’s Chorus

About paulah
Paula Hicken was an editor with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship from 2000 to 2013. She earned her BA degree in English from Brigham Young University. She edited Insights, the Maxwell Institute newsletter, and was the production editor for Faith, Philosophy, Scripture, Hebrew Law in Biblical Times (2nd ed.), Third Nephi: An Incomparable Scripture, and was one of the copy editors for Analysis of the Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon. She also helped manage the Maxwell Institute intellectual property and oversaw rights and permissions. She has published in the Ensign, the Liahona, the LDS Church News, and the FARMS Review.

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